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How to Incorporate the Best Medical Repatriation Practices in Immigration

medical repatriation Allista

Undocumented immigrant patients have put the medical faculty and international governments in a big dilemma worldwide. Hospitals are expected to accept any patient who presents to the emergency department. When patients who have an illegal immigration profile, it becomes challenging for hospitals to provide care, especially when they require ongoing medical care. They become at risk for medical deportations which causes stress to the families affected. Every human being deserves appropriate healthcare, irrespective of their nationality, immigration status, etc.

All patients are accepted by the hospitals for emergency care regardless of their immigration status in that country, accidental demographic features, and their financial ability to pay the hospital bills. However, once the patient is stabilized, he may be transferred to other facilities for further treatment in his own native country. Transferring the patient only adds to the costs that the hospital already absorbed during the treatment. Medical repatriation is an institutional dilemma that has not only affected physicians and nurses, but also rehab centers.


The Medicaid Dilemma

Undocumented immigrant patients are just as hardworking citizens as any other but often work in small-scale businesses that provide no medical insurance and are usually ineligible for any of the public insurance programs of the U.S such as Medicaid or Medicare. They also tend to be ineligible for all of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

Due to any reason, if these patients are left untreated and may have a contagious disease, they may continue to spread contagion, leading to negative consequences for the entire community too. Medical repatriation may also spread these diseases to other countries. Thus, their healthcare is the responsibility of the very community that employs and shelters them.


Can medical repatriation ever be ethical?

Some of the ways to incorporate the best medical repatriation practices and respond to a dilemma in immigration include-

Physicians and nurses should be committed to the professional standards of conduct. The codes are as follows:

A) The American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses states that “the nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems”.

B) The American Medical Association’s (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics states that “A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights”.

– Educational classes in hospitals should be conducted together for physicians and nurses so that they are inculcated with similar codes, guidelines, and ethics of care when working together.

– A reasonable person must foresee a transfer as being in the patient’s best interest apart from the issue of finance.

– Due diligence regarding medical support must be exercised by the hospital.

– The patient or appropriate surrogate must sign a fully informed consent before being returned to another country for further restoration of health.

– The hospital must exercise the right of the patient to be treated when in distress is encoded in the federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which is best known by its acronym of EMTALA (U.S. Congress 1986).

– Raise an organization that can take care of the needs of immigrant patients.

– Health care professionals should volunteer their valuable time and skill for such organizations.

– Hospitals should honor their obligations of receiving tax benefits for taking care of indigent patients.


Medical repatriation addresses only one problem and sweeps another under the rug. Establishing best practices during this process is the only way to help all parties involved. Hard working immigrants are paying taxes and contributing to the country’s GDP equally like other citizens. They should be treated like one, with respect and proper medical care, continued until he is able to be with his family or friends in his own country.

It is essential to incorporate the best medical repatriation practices in immigration so that even immigrant patients get the deserved medical care and the provider is not financially burdened with the same. Allista and its Institutional partners, Americas Hospital and Hospital en Casa ensure proper care and procedures when it comes to situations like this. There are many advantages to oversees hospitals who specialize in the health care of deported immigrants. Contact us to learn more about how we focus on compassion and improving the quality of life of our patients.


Have a patient facing medical repatriation? Allista can help!

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